Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ise, Mie

Ise, Mie is home to the Ise Grand Shrine which is known as the most sacred of Shinto shrines. Most of the buildings are closed off to the public and you can only spot some of the roof behind the fences. This place had a lot of shrines that consisted of a building where people just prayed in front of. Every 20 years the shrine is rebuilt due to the Shinto belief of death and renewal of nature. Such a big feat considering there are so many buildings. The next rebuilding it going to take place in 2013!

1. Uji Bridge - gets rebuilt every 20 years
2. The rebuilding of the shrines and bridge are adjacent to the old site. The rebuilding alternates between these two sites.
3. These chickens roam the grounds. They are the messengers of Amaterasu-ōmikami whom the shrine is dedicated to. Has anyone ever seen such a white chicken with long feathers?!?
4. Can you see what this bridge resembles? An old Japanese man pointed it out to me!
5. Oharai Machi - a street near the entrance to the Inner Shrine that has a bunch of omiyage shops. I loved the architecture of the buildings.
6. In Oharai Machi you can find the original akafuku shop. Akafuku is pounded rice cake topped with red bean. I'm not a fan of red bean so didn't think I would like this but it was delicious! Also super expensive for two small pieces. You can find boxes of akafuku in omiyage shops around Japan but they don't have any preservatives so should be eaten fast!
7. In Okage Yoko-chō an area that branches off of Oharai Machi you can find a lot of eateries. You can find Ise Udon which is another famous delicacy here in Ise.
8. Tofu donut - this was just meh to me. Not a big fan of donuts and a tofu donut didn't add any wow factor for me. This shop can be found in the Oharai Machi section.

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